The Industrial Revolution dramatically reshaped our society, replacing many professions with machines in a short period of time—or at least as many functions as could be automated by the end of 19th century. But what would happen if the revolution had never come? What lost professions would still be in use nowadays?
1. Cafe Vendor
At the top of the list is the profession every coffee drinker would love to bring back to life today: cafe vendor. You would see them walking up and down the street, pouring coffee for anybody in need of a caffeine fix. They also provided delivery service. Imagine having your coffee delivered to your doorstep or maybe right to your bed.
In some countries, like Turkey or Italy, instead of coffee, vendors would carry wine, sorbet, or hot chocolate.
Also known as a human alarm clock, the knock-er up is the ultimate alarm clock that can’t be snoozed. People clearly miss that human touch—there’s actually an an app for it.
3. The Scribe
Illiteracy, a common phenomenon of the 19th century, gave birth to another profession we no longer see today. Scribes would park themselves in front of a convenient place, such as a post office, and write a letter for those in need. I wish they could write my emails for me.
4. Rat Catcher
Without doubt, all New Yorkers would hire a rat catcher at any cost. Incidentally, there is a group who use terriers to catch rats, though I’m not sure if they do hire outs…
5. Reader Who Entertained Factory Workers
Yes, this is a profession we might still appreciate during those long hours working in front of a computer.
6. Town Crier
Public announcements or even the King’s words, were all delivered to the masses by a town crier. Social media and media in general carry on the town criers’ mission, but wouldn’t it be exciting to hear the drums of a coming message?
Lamplighters in big cities around the world would move through the streets every night starting at sunset, and while lighting the way, they also kept a protective watch over their domain.
8. Elevator Boy
To operate an elevator used to require certain technical skills, that not everybody could handle. That may not be the case anymore, but there could be a number of benefits if the profession carried on: It’s a good entry-level job for teens; there’s always someone to chat with; and you wouldn’t have to touch grimy elevator buttons.
9. Switchboard Operator
Imagine having your every phone call transferred by one of these lovely ladies? As easy as it may seem, switchboard operating was a serious profession with specialized schools. Girls had to learn the meaning of many different light signals and also conversional phrases to keep customers company while waiting for the call. Wouldn’t that be nicer than music?
10. Radio Actors
Radio actors actually playing out dramas or comedies seems a bit old-school now, but the profession may live on. Ever listen to your podcast or Soundcloud feed? Though on an updated format, the radio actor might be a profession that has actually never disappeared.